The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear on Wednesday a plea by Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly Paresh Dhanani against the decision of the Election Commission of India to hold separate bye-polls to two Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat, PTI reported.
Dhanani had filed the plea on Monday, Bar and Bench reported. Dhanani, a Congress MLA, asked the court to direct the poll panel to conduct simultaneous bye-elections for filling up Rajya Sabha vacancies in all states.
The vacancies were created by the election of Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah and party leader Smriti Irani to the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar and Amethi constituencies during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The poll panel’s notice terms the vacancies created as “casual vacancies”, a term the petitioner opposed. Dhanani said the term is a “complete and direct violation of the provisions of Representation of People Act.” Such vacancies fall under the category of statutory vacancies under Section 69 of the Act, the Congress legislator added.
Dhanani asked the top court to declare the poll panel’s order as “unconstitutional, arbitrary, illegal, void ab initio” as it was violative of Article 14 of the Constitution, PTI reported.
“The conduct of election for each vacancy separately would only lead to one result i.e. the victory of the party which commands simple majority in the State Legislature,” the petition reads. “This would turn the very objective of proportional representation i.e. to give each minority group an effective share as per its strength, on its head.”
Dhanani said he had made several representations before the Election Commission in this regard, but to no avail, which shows “complete absence of justice” in ensuring a level-playing field for all political parties.